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time tracks Lights, camera, action by Robin Fletcher


Myrlie Evers

Down the Corridor


Standing before a crowd of students in North Texas' Main Auditorium on Sept. 12, 1972, the wife of a slain civil rights leader called for Americans to "clean their dirty house."

Myrlie Evers, whose husband, Medgar, was murdered outside their Mississippi home in 1963 only hours after President John F. Kennedy delivered a nationally televised speech urging racial harmony in the United States, said she believed in the power of government.

"One ray of light that gives me hope, and gives me a certain amount of joy in knowing that things don't have to be as they are, is politics," she said.

After her husband's death, Evers moved to California and in 1967 co-wrote a book titled For Us, the Living.


Myrlie Evers, the wife of a slain civil rights leader, spoke on campus in 1972.


At North Texas, she called the violence of the 1960s a "necessary evil," because she believed it made the government act and it proved that "whatever the government sets its mind to do, can be done."

She also stressed the need for political involvement, strengthening of education and re-ordering of priorities to aid in social reform.

She encouraged students to question the purpose of their education, noting it could "go a step beyond teaching facts and begin teaching people how to help their fellow man."

Evers went on to great professional success, later serving as chair of the NAACP. She also is the author of the 1999 book Watch Me Fly: What I Learned On the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be.

UNT students are still encouraged to pursue an education that will help change the world, and in recent years, the family of other civil rights leaders have visited the university to speak about the need for inclusion and acceptance.

Coretta Scott King, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr. and a human rights activist in her own right, spoke on campus in 2005, when she was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

The Kings' daughter, Yolanda King, visited UNT in 2006. Julie Chavez Rodríguez, of the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, discussed her grandfather, the noted labor and migrant farm worker activist, in the fall of 2007.



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